Hedgerow harvest

I think that when the sun is out and the countryside is in full green mode, there’s no place more beautiful than Northumberland; a place that truly nourishes my soul. 

Yesterday was one of those days. Driving along the back roads because of a diversion on the Military Road, the colours, textures and smells from the plants were sublime.

Meadowsweet seems to have done particularly well this year. It’s everywhere at the moment and its smell triggers a deep feeling of wellbeing in my mind. 

Also known as queen of the meadow and meadwort, it’s popular now with chefs. It was traditionally used to flavour mead and a quick Google shows it can be used for joint pain, heartburn, ulcers and gout! It also makes a nice tea.

We’ve lost so much handed down knowledge about the use of plants that we’re unsure now about how to use the ones which surround us. I hope the emerging interest in what the hedgerow has to offer will lead to some research and advice on how to use these plants, such as meadowsweet, which is a natural aspirin.

At Vallum, Restaurant Pine’s plants are all going a bomb in the garden. They’re growing the gigantic chard leaves we use for the presentation of our wedding feasting boards, which look so dramatic – bouncing, fresh and shiny in a multitude of colours.

We are well and truly in the middle of wedding season at Vallum now. The new potatoes have come through and boy are they taking some seasoning this year; we’re drenching them in salt, pepper, parsley and mint.

Have a lovely summer and enjoy our beautiful corner of the world! And happy growing – and if you have any photos of your efforts and you’re on Instagram, share them with me @vicmoffitt and with @appetitemaguk.

Vicky Moffitt, of Vallum Farm on Hadrian’s Wall, shares the trials and tribulations of the Kitchen Garden which supplies produce to the farm’s weddings and events, and Restaurant Pine. Vallum, Military Road, Newcastle, NE18 0LL, tel 01434 672 652, www.vallumfarm.co.uk

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